Quick Reference

Time Period:
Prior to 1916




Bookplates & Cachet






The daughter of Rodolphus Beetle a prominent spar maker (a carpenter who finishes and installs bars, mass and cargo booms) to the whaling industry of New Bedford Massachusetts. She married local financier John Henry Herring January 1, 1903.

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Featured Artwork:Eugenia Beetle Herring Bookplate

Bookplate Provenance

RSW's initials found in
RSW's initials found in lower left corner

This bookplate was found in 2011 for sale on ebay and was purchased by the Woodward estate for a winning price of $53.00. There are others out there, most notably the Boston MFA having one in its collection, as well as, one found on Pinterest under the collection of a Daniel Fearing.

It was not nearly as easy to translate the latin bordering the artwork as it was of the more common phrases, such as, Ex Libris or Fides Scutum. However the general gist of it is what she "honored" or was faithful to... "Scarabaeus (Beetle) in honore viriginitatis (virginity)" is roughly honoring the family name. "Navis (ship) in honore patris (father)" is honoring her father's legacy and "Pisris in honor conrugis (spouse)" is for her husband.

Additional Notes

The Beetle home in New Bedford
The Beetle home in New Bedford

This is one of the more extravagant bookplates you will ever find. In fact, this is only one of just a handful of bookplates out of hundreds we have viewed online that are in color! Its nautical theme is in line with her heritage and her husband's early profession as a merchantile agent. Eugenia herself is the daughter Rodolphus Beetle, a prominent spar maker (a carpenter who finishes and installs bars, mast and cargo booms) to the whaling industry of New Bedford, Massachusetts. The business and trade was founded by her grandfather William Beetle in 1850. Their family home still stands today in the historic "Acushnet Heights" neighborhood of New Bedford. The Beetle-Herring home is in the same nieghborhood but we were unable to get a suitable picture of it.

Poor's Manufacturing Guide 1917
Poor's Manufacturing Guide 1917

Eugenia's husband, J. Henry Herring was a noted financier and mercantile agent of New Bedford. He is cited as having served as director, trustee and/or a member of the board of investment to several businesses in the area such as the R. G. Dun agency, the Five Cents Savings Bank, the New Bedford Whaling Museum and the Holmes Manufacturing Company a maker of fine yarns (see left).

Another mention of Mr. Herring was from a published list compiled by the Navy of ships commandeered during World War I under by way of a "free lease basis." Mr. Herring's 73 foot boat named Beluga was on the list.

It is unclear to us if this "free lease" policy was voluntary or not. We do not believe it was... On May 10, 1915, "Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels orders the Commandants of the Fourth and Fifth Naval Districts to immediately purchase 'all fishing vessels inspected and found able to cross Atlantic. Lease all other fishing vessels suitable for district work.'" After the war the vessels were returned to their original owners. [ Source: www.history.navy.mil ]

Bonus Material

Hand-written note referencing Beetle Herring Bookplate and Sears Crest
Hand-written note referencing
Beetle Herring Bookplate and Sears Crest

This hand-written note to Woodward was found in a collection of his personal items. It's author is unknown, however, we believe it could be Mary Jane (Eliot) Sears Lovering, second eldest daughter of Mary (Minnie) Eliot. It is initialed, M.J.S. What is unclear, however, is why it would not be M.J.L? We have no explaination other than to say that we could not find any source that did not list Mary's husband Richard as anything other than "Sears Lovering." Names in that period were not hyphenated like they are today so it is hard to tell if the last name is "Sears-Lovering" or "Lovering." Confusing matters more, it was also a custom to give a child the middle name of the maternal family, such as, Dr. Lawrence Kirby Lunt. "Kirby" being his mother's maiden name. Still, this did not make Lawrence's last name, Kirby Lunt. He was always referred to as Lawrence or Larry Lunt.

Nonetheless, the note is addressed as being from Beverly Farms, a town north of Boston between Pride's Crossing and Manchester, MA, where the Eliot famly held substantial holdings of land. At worst, the note is from someone close to or related to the Sears or Eliot families. The note makes reference to the Sears family Crest, the Beetle-Herring bookplate and another for someone we believe is named "Matt Jr." Below is the transcribed note:

Beverly Farm
Sept. 6 -

Your note forwarded to me here - I think the Herring bookplate most ingenious and congratulate you - There is no hurry about the Sears Crest if it is for Christmas. Matt Jr.[?] suggests several ideas for his book-plate. When I will write to explain. Sorry about the nurse leaving.